Spaghetti Squash alla Norma

Let’s address the first question I assume you have. What the H is Spaghetti Squash? Oh you already know? That’s great, join the other overachievers in the front row and skip a paragraph.

Spaghetti Squash is like the unicorn of the Squash Kingdom. You never knew something like this existed but then you find it, and you cannot get enough of it. You want to visit lakes with the it, hold its hoof, brush its hair… It is that magical. We received a Spaghetti Squash in our CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) a few months ago, and had absolutely no idea what to do with it. So naturally we used the interwebs and googled this squash unicorn. We found that you roast it and it can be used as a substitute for spaghetti. In all of the pictures I was amazed that this squash somehow looked like… spaghetti! I assumed that this was due to some tedious effort to come, as I didn’t read fully through the directions we found. In the end it turns out you have to do basically nothing to transform this gourd into spaghetti. Just gotta fork the crap out of it. (Highly recommend cooling prior to that.)

Anyway our exposure to Spaghetti Squash pretty much opened up our eyes to lots of yummy pasta dishes that we can make slightly less unhealthy by switching out pasta for the squash. Don’t worry – we added extra cheese to make up the difference. We’ve played around with a few recipes (that I will eventually share), but this is by far our favorite. I found a recipe for Penne all Norma and adjusted it for our tastes, and also to serve 300 people, since we love leftovers. Apparently the “Norma” comes from the Opera “Norma” which was composed by Sicilian Vincenzo Bellini. Sicily is where this dish originated. Though I doubt it was with Spaghetti Squash. And there was probably more yelling and definitely more hand gestures.

You may notice I omit Basil (I am allergic), Ricotta (I never use enough), and Tomato Paste (I always forget to buy it anyway) from the Martha Stewart inspiration recipe. Feel free to add these things back into the recipe, if they are your favorites.

Reading the ingredients, these are all actually pretty healthy (sans the heaping Parmesan), and Gluten Free! Hooray for accidentally accommodating food allergies and diets.

Spaghetti Squash alla Norma

  • Servings: 4-6
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

  • 2 Large Spaghetti Squashes (Larger than the ones pictured)
  • ½ Onion chopped fine (I use the Cuisinart, because I have weak onion eyes)
  • 4 cloves Garlic
  • 1 lb Ground Turkey
  • +1/4 tsp Red Pepper Flakes (To taste – I usually use a “heaping” measure)
  • 1 c Cherry Tomatoes sliced
  • 3 14.5 oz cans Diced Unsalted Tomatoes
  • 1 Large Eggplant, cut into 1-1 ½ inch cubes
  • Parmesan Cheese grated
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Directions (Squash): (I highly advise making the Squash long before you need to touch it.)

  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
  2. Slice squash in half vertically (hot-dog way).
  3. Drizzle squash with olive oil and season generously with pepper, sprinkle with salt.
  4. Cover a cookie sheet in aluminum foil. Spray foil with Cooking Spray, or oil.
  5. Place squash cut side down on foil.
  6. Cook for 1 hour, or until you can easily pierce through the skin/meat with a fork.
  8. Use a spoon to scoop squash loose from skin.
  9. Scrape squash with a fork to remove the spaghetti strands.

Directions (Sauce):

  1. Heat 2 Tbsp Olive Oil in a large pot for 1 minute.
  2. Add diced Onions and stir for 3 minutes.
  3. When Onions just start to get translucent, add Red Pepper Flakes, Garlic, and Ground Turkey. Season with Salt and Pepper.
  4. Cook until Ground Turkey is fully As in, not pink.
  5. Add Eggplant, stir once to move everything around. Then cover for 6-8 minutes. Stirring occasionally.
  6. When Eggplant starts to get soft add all Tomato ingredients.
  7. Cook while stirring for ten more minutes, or until Cherry Tomatoes are soft.
  8. Put forked Spaghetti Squash into sauce pot and continue to cook until the dish is to desired temperature.
  9. Serve with a heaping amount of Parmesan. That would embarrass even the greatest cheese-loving Italian.
  10. (Alternative is to place spaghetti squash on its own in bowl and then cover with hot sauce. Like in the pictures.)

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